how to make a plaster face mask

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Now comes the real mask making magic!

Decorating and adorning the Self-Mask opens a world of creative self-expression possibilities! ...More than just the obvious "paint and hang it", there is an endless variety of possibilities for your new Life Mask!

Plaster Mask as Press Mold:

In my work as a mask maker and sculptor, I most often use the life cast (plaster mask) as a press mold for creating a ceramic stoneware life mask of individuals.

My work creating what I've come to call "Life Dream Portraits" of individuals on a commissioned basis is a very powerful and meaningful aspect of my life as an artist and social/psychologist. (For more information about commissioning me to create your Life Dream Portrait in ceramic, bronze or mixed media)

Plaster Mask as It's Own Expressive Arts and Art Therapy:

In my weekend workshops and private retreats, and with friends and kids, I often use the actual plaster life cast as the finished piece -- which is what we'll be getting into here.

You will take the white gauze mask you made of your face (or other body parts..) and decorate, add, embellish to create a finished art piece. The variations are endless...! (I have one entire wall of a bedroom in my home that is a gallery of these decorated plaster face masks -- each one a different aspect of my personality that I have explored or let "have voice" (See more about making this process one of spiritual and self-discovery below.  Or visit for more on expressive art therapy and shaman studies.)

The Mask As Spiritual & Self-Discovery:

Because I lean toward the ancient traditions of mask making as a Shaman healer, teacher, and retreat leader, I have a fascination with, and a strong respect for "the spirit of the mask".

I see the white mask as a kind of "tableau rasa" (blank mask) --- a magical opportunity to explore aspects of self and soul. For example, you might want to consider some of these themes (or play with some others:).

  • New You: What part of you or your life would you like to see empowered?
  • Old Stuff: What part of you are you ready to let go of, accept, or heal?
  • What's your ________ Self-look like? (Fill in the blank with anything you’re dealing with: athletic self; old wise one; innocent inner child; judgmental self; shy self; divorced self; healed self…etc.)
  • Totem: What animal, sea creature, plant serves as a protector/guide for you?
  • Dream Vision: What’s something you dream of, or what has a recent dream told you about yourself...?

You get the idea...!

Basic Materials & Supplies for Decorating Your Mask:

First, there’s really only 1 technical piece of information. It’s best if the plaster mask cures for 24 hours before you start adorning it. (..If you can’t wait, as I often can’t, put it in a warm (200) oven for about an hour).

Second, I tell my clients who I work with to start collecting a Treasure Chest of interesting and meaningful odds and ends...

Here's some of the kinds of things you might want to have on hand for your mask-making art project

  • Acrylic paints (or any paint other than water color unless you're familiar with their use.)
  • White tacky glue and/or hot glue gun
  • Hole punch and hanging wire
  • Treasure Chest: Basket of cool stuff you collect and pick up... like:
    • Feathers, fabric remnants, seeds. stix, stones,
      beads, old photos, magazine images/clippings,
      old earrings, drift wood,
      memorabilia (Clean out some old drawers, take a walk in the woods, draw...)







Ronda LaRue, M.S., Master Mask Maker

how to make a life face mask plaster of paris

In this video, master mask-maker, Ronda LaRue will take you step-by-step through everything you need to know to create your own life mask, including an array of creative applications.  Approx. 40 minutes



  1. Intro: Materials Used and Mixing the Plaster
  2. Applying Plaster to Face  (step-by-step)
  3. Decorating tips and ideas
  4. Making a Press Mold
  5. TV Interview with Artist/Mask-Maker Ronda LaRue: Home & Garden, Carol Duvall Show
  6. Slide Show: Gallery of Ideas